So what’s up with #LonelyShoeSighting?
You know when you’re mindlessly driving, checking out the trees and the pedestrians, when out of the blue you see a random shoe lying on the side of the road? Well I do.
Most people see those shoes and typical thoughts pass by like, “How in the world is it possible to lose a shoe like that?” or “Was the person hanging their foot out the window? Had there been a car accident at this location? How does a shoe actually fall off a person’s foot?”
I’m not talking about shoes hanging from telephone wires- those shoes are purposely placed by human hands.
I’m talking about the abandoned shoes that have stories to tell. If only shoes could speak. For me, seeing these lonely, forgotten shoes over countless years has sparked a deep, private shame in my heart. I’ve scolded myself for not following-through on my dreams and I’ve resented myself for being so f*cked up.
I know this all sounds strange, but it’s a true story.
When I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Crafting stories was in my DNA and seeing my thoughts come alive and sound better on paper, gave me a thrill. Around the same time in my childhood, I saw a lonely shoe lying on the road. I had a magical idea. If I could write a story every time I saw a single, lost shoe on the road, then I would have an entire book written once I was an adult. The story needed to be about everything going on in my life at that specific time. The working title for this book has always been, “The Lonely Shoe Diaries.”
A memoir that practically wrote itself. It seemed brilliant! Too easy! The idea never materialized.
I became bulimic as a kid and for the next 24 years, I pushed through life while deeming myself inadequate. I made comparisons based on insecurities, I made choices based out of fear, and I raged inside when I saw a lonely shoe on the road.
Guilt and shame are powerful, familiar companions and they ruled my life.
When I continued to see the lonely shoes and my eating disorder was in full swing, I decided that each time I saw one of those god-forsaken shoes I should write an essay about recovering. I would describe my current efforts to heal until I wrote myself right out of my private hell.
There was just one thing.
I couldn’t bring myself to write about bulimia. I just couldn’t do it.
Each time I binged and purged I promised myself, “this is the last time”. But I had broken that promise enough times to believe that giving my word was worthless. I never followed-through with anything I really wanted in life so I knew I would never be in a position to write about recovery. I fought daily with the idea that things would never get better on the inside.
But I got help and then things did get better. And I wrote and I wrote and I wrote.
The more I began to talk about my journey, the more I began to heal. The hardest part has been realizing recovery isn’t a before and after process, it’s all about the in-between. I want to help people shed all that pent up shame and to tell them that they are worth it, that there is hope, and that they are not alone.
When I see a lonely shoe now, depending on my mood, they can bring tears to my eyes. These shoes are beautiful, random reminders to be present and to be grateful. I look at them now and I know I can do ANYTHING and I can be ANYBODY. Today I’m now living my life’s purpose.
Please keep sending me your #LonelyShoeSighting photos and I’ll use them for marketing! If you feel inspired, let me know how you felt when you saw the shoe. Take an inventory and ask yourself how you feel on the inside. What’s your mood around your body? Your shame? Your secrets? Your family? Your work? Your friends? Your dreams?
I want Lonely Shoes to be a random reminder to Keep Going. This is how I see those shoes now and it fills up my heart.